How Digital Transformation Changes Work Design : A Butterfly Emerging from its Chrysalis?

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för organisation och entreprenörskap (OE)

Abstract: Due to rapid technological development and its increasing impact on our everyday life, the way we work, and the conditions under which we do so, organizations may lose their competitive edge if they do not participate in the digital transformation. Extant literature highlights individually researched areas on how digital transformation changes work design such as virtual teams or communication technologies but rarely examines the phenomenon in more general terms. However, because work design is vital for a range of outcomes including but not limited to employee cognitions and learning, productivity and innovation, job satisfaction and commitment, as well as employee health and well-being providing a broad view on how digital transformation affects work design in today’s organizations is beneficial. Therefore, this Master Thesis provides an overarching picture of the changes in work design owed to digital transformation in contemporary societies, combining previously researched change dimensions with new insights from empirical data in a comprehensive framework. Two different qualitative methods, an online qualitative expert survey conducted with 39 participants followed by three semi-structured expert interviews revealed that changes in work design owed to digital transformation can - in line with the literature reviewed prior to conducting the study though varingly strong discussed - be categorized into the following six domains: Performance measurements, higher job demands and increasing competency requirements, increasing technologization, increased influence, work-life setup, communication and collaboration. Next to that, results suggest performance measurements as another change dimension evolving from digital transformation. Moreover, this Master Thesis suggests a strong relation between changes in work design and changes in leadership owed to digital transformation, wherefore future research may aim to study the interrelations between changes in both subject areas in more depth.

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